North Country

She heard a snort and went searching, and peered
round a boulder as the bear peeked out. Both
then withdrew, edged forward again, and paused.
Stretching out his neck, the bear sniffed the wind,
and the woman waited. She loathed mornings,
but midsummer sun and two snoring friends
had driven her from the tent. And this was
the bear’s hour, she now knew. In his gaze
she recognized the steep, swift slide inward
to mere wilderness where she was no one
and no path led home. But she wouldn’t cry,
she didn’t retreat. This was the moment
when she knew that (if she lived) she’d return
to school and try again. Take back her life.  

Joseph Chaney is the publisher of Wolfson Press. He teaches writing and literature at Indiana University South Bend. His work has appeared in many journals, including The NationBeloit Poetry JournalPrairie SchoonerDogwoodSpillway, and Stoneboat. A few recent short poems can be read online from The Apple Valley Review and Roanoke Review.